Chief Executive Andy Parkinson on the latest draft of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code and the International Standards and what this means for all those involved in sport:
“On 21 June 2013 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released the latest draft version of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code and the International Standards. The Code Review process has been going on for about 18 months domestically, at a European level (both within the Council of Europe and at the EU) and on a world-wide level. Athlete groups have been involved, governments and the sports movement have contributed, NADOs have expressed their views and the WADA Executive Committee and Foundation Board have regularly guided the process and content of the proposed Code for 2015.
"As we head towards Johannesburg and the World Conference on Doping in Sport in November this year, there are many items and policy decisions already resolved. The issue of whether the Prohibited List should focus solely on performance enhancing substances and methods or also encompass the health of athletes appears to have been resolved by the WADA Executive Committee in May, in favour of the latter view. The sanctioning regime has been modified taking into account the vocal views of many athletes who want tougher sanctions for determined dopers with the final step to confirm the legal viability of the drafted provisions, something WADA is currently consulting on. The Code has also introduced a significant amount of flexibility for Anti-Doping Organisations in how they operate (illustrated by the proposed ability for Anti-Doping Organisations to request from WADA more sport-specific analytical options from the laboratories) and there is an underlying recognition that International Federations and nations can operate slightly different programmes while remaining in compliance with the principles and intent of the Code.
"So, the process is nearly complete and many are heralding this as the most comprehensive of the three Code Review processes conducted by WADA.
"Well, not quite complete. The rules and the framework are one thing, the application of those rules and the commitment and ability of Anti-Doping Organisations to tackle doping is entirely another. The proposed Code includes many new and improved obligations on Anti-Doping Organisations, and more importantly on WADA itself. It is widely recognised by many that the best way to evolve our collective activities, and ultimately be better at protecting sport and our athletes, is through enhancing the regulatory function of WADA. This is based on the principle that you can have the best anti-doping framework in the world, you can have all the most enthusiastic and well-resourced International Federations and nations delivering high quality programmes, but if there is ineffective monitoring, ambiguous accountability and limited consequences for those who do not play their part, or want to play their part, then the ambition of a global level-playing field will never be achieved.
"In my capacity as Chair of the Ad hoc European Committee for the World Anti-Doping Agency (CAHAMA) I have witnessed how natural it is for many governments and governmental institutions to be held to account either by the tax payer, the voter or the myriad of regulatory bodies that ensure that public authorities are acting as they should to provide assurance to the public of governmental decisions. To do so requires first the desire to be held to account, secondly the regulatory and/or legal framework, and lastly the skills and resources to regulate. Looking at anti-doping there is no doubt that sport and public authorities (governments and NADOs) want to be held to account on anti-doping issues; the creation of an independent WADA in 1999 is testament to this. The Code and the UNESCO Convention Against Doping in Sport provide the regulatory and legal framework for WADA to do its job. The final step is for WADA to build on its excellent first decade of activities and now evolve to meet the demands of the proposed 2015 Code. To do so will require a different approach, a different skill set and a different focus for human and financial resources.
"UK Anti-Doping is very grateful and encouraged by the active participation of many National Governing Bodies and partner organisations in this Code Review process. There is not long to go until the final approval and the ultimate goal remains, in that whatever is approved in Johannesburg must give our current clean athletes a better chance of competing on a level-playing field and our future champions the ability to compete in a safe and doping-free environment.”